XIV-1 - Écritures en crise : les apocalypses (2009)

Revue des Facultés de Théologie et de Philosophie


Jacques Descreux - At the heart of faith and doubt

Around the question of salvation and God's almighty power, the author explores two worlds of parallel writing : Biblical apocalypse (Daniel;  John) and the work of Primo Levi If This is a Man. If one and the other agree that the executioner's work is to weaken faith and all trace of humanity in his victim, their views of the image of God are fundamentally different. While Biblical apocalypse supposes transcendental salvation even if in the story God remains incomprehensible, Primo Levi's atheism rests upon his incomprehension of God's almighty power. In the absence of the construction of an image of power's ambiguity - the sacrificial Lamb in the Apocalypse of John -, If This is a Man retreats into an alternative with no way out : if God is all-powerful, He is guilty of allowing the assassin's actions ; if his power is limited, he is not God. Consequently, can we say that Levi has built an incomplete apocalypse ?

Michel Berder - Apocalyptic in contemporary music

Contemporary music often echoes the biblical text of the Apocalypse of John, or other « apocalyptic » sources. These productions are found in quite different registers. In this field, one figure stands out clearly because of the importance of his resorting to the last book of the New Testament : Olivier Messiaen. He deliberately takes position for a precise interpretation of the text, emphasizing its dimension of hope within the profession of Christian faith. Other composers retain images, symbols, phrases that they translate into music in different directions. A passage over this vast repertory shows that certain situations have played an important part in giving this characteristic to musical creation in our time : distress before totalitarian power play, world conflicts, the Shoah, passage to a new millennium. The composers personal lives, and the trial presented by unavoidable death, is also significant in this elaboration. Finally, one can recognize that the evolution of musical language, and new technological capacities, have enabled an amplified resonance to the tensions running through the apocalyptic texts.

Michèle Debidour - Identity and apocalyptic writing in the cinema

Tarkovski, a director persecuted by the Soviet régime, used in two of his films the apocalyptic theme. In Stalker the mysterious Zone, which keeps the secret of a destruction, unveils to the Writer and to the Professor the emptiness of their existence. In counterpoint, the Stalker and his daughter are harbingers of hope. The Sacrifice evokes, by its setting, Bergman's apocalyptic parable The Seventh Seal : faced with the opening throes of the end of the world, Alexander discovers the futility of knowledge, and the supreme value of giving.

Pierre de Martin de Viviés - The book of Daniel : three crises for an apocalypse

Is apocalyptic literature a literature for times of crisis? In order to answer this question, a study of the book of Daniel, the great apocalypse of the Old Testament, could be interesting. This work discusses not just one, but three great crises which deeply affected Judaism : the exile in Babylon; the Persian domination, which tolled the death of hope for a triumphant return from exile; and, finally, the crisis created by Greek domination and the reign of Antiochos IV. But all these crises are not perceived in the same manner. Why do some generate apocalyptic literature, and others not? Is it on account of the intensity, or is it rather the nature of the crisis? The book of Daniel proposes a fresh view of these episodes of Jewish history, and can lead the reader to ask himself if our era doesn't present equally favorable conditions for a resurgence of this literature...

Adela Yarbro Collins - Apocalyptic rhetoric, identity and virtual catharsis

Paying particular attention to the apocalyptic rhetoric of the seven messages to the oriental churches in the Apocalypse of John, the author illustrates the way the narrator builds Christian identity from a virtual catharsis, and not a real crisis (persecution). In doing so, the narrator outlines this identity with a double opposition to the Jewish and the pagan environment; giving his text a strong messianic tint. In using a virtual catharsis, he tries to overcome the unbearable tension between his observations of the social system and its applications in the province of Asia, and what should have been, in his view, the social reality of the kingdom of God and of his Messiah. Among other passages, the narrative of the two witnesses in Ap 11,3-13, and the opposition between the Dragon (taken over by the Beasts) and the Lamb in Ap 12-13, bear witness to this attempt.